Torpenhow Open Air School, The Wirral


This school was founded in Montgomery Hill, Frankby by the Liverpool Chest Hospital under the auspices of Liverpool Corporation Education Board in 1926 and taken over by the County Council in 1948. It closed in July 1988.



We have received the following memories of Torpenhow from Steve Olney (who was known as Peter when he was at the school):


"I was at Torpenhow when I was about 10/11, in about 1960, possibly part of '59. It was home to I suppose some 50 boys in the Wirral area of Cheshire/Lancs. In general I was content enough, though with hindsight the education there probably held back any academic abilities I had.Plenty of fresh air, regular supervised walks to the nearest RC church, a nice garden, walled I think, to work in & pleasant young nurses. Visits from interested family no problem, except sometimes the distance/cost was a limiting factor. Still remember some of the names of the kids & have wondered how they all made out on discharge, before it closed down well after my time. My dorm had about 16/20 kids in it & was quite fun as I recall."


And we are very grateful to Patricia for these memories:


"I spent 6 months at Torpenhow when I was about 8/9 yrs old (1959/1960).  I was quite happy there, though looked forward to visiting day each month.  Two friends I remember were a girl called Olive and one called Hilary (from Knutsford).  Hilary and I wrote to each other for a while when we went home and we met once years later.  There were two nurses in particular that were really nice.  I remember I hated porridge but we were supposed to eat it each day so Olive used to eat mine as well as her own.  I remember one time there were two girls, I think they were sisters, and they lived not too far from Torpenhow.  They just wanted to go home and decided to run away.  They talked a few others into going with them, me included (though I can't think why I went because I wasn't unhappy!)  Anyway, we didn't get far before we were brought back.  Can't remember what happened about that!!   There were four of us girls who tended to stick together - I have a photo of the four of us."





If you would like to add your own memories of Torpenhow, please let us know.




Answering our appeal for information about Torpenhow reunions, we are very grateful for this reponse from Eric:


"I was one of three ex-pupils who organised the reunions in 2006 and 2007 and the reunions were quite successful at gathering together ex-pupils and staff from the 1930s through to the 1980s. The reunions did not continue after 2007 for several reasons, the first being that it was too much work, and the second being that there was no consensus on how to proceed for future reunions. The best place to make contact with other ex-'Torpies' is FriendsReunited."


Looking for more information?


Some records, listed below, are held by Chester Archives and Local Studies [external website].

Managers' Minutes  SL318/1  Dec 1948 - Jun 1969

Log Book  SL318/4036/1  Nov 1926 - Jul 1988


Letter from D E O to M C Edwards relating to Dance and Drama Festival  SL318/4036/2  5 Jul 1982


The archives may also have other records.


A former pupil has written a poem about their time at the school which can be found here [external site]






Do you have memories of an open air school you would like to share?

Please get in touch!